The B segment hot hatch landscape isn’t anything like as well populated as the category above. Unless you’re happy spending out on premium options like the VW Polo GTI or Mini Cooper S (or splashing out yet more on the £30k Toyota GR Yaris), your only logical option is the Ford Fiesta ST.
It’s an exceptional car, but a little more choice might be nice, right? Hyundai, it seems, agrees, and it wants to have a crack at the Fiesta with the all-new i20 N. The car was teased via a now-deleted video earlier this month, and this week, a prototype has been caught testing in Spain.
The camouflage is still pretty heavy at this stage, but we can see that the wheels and brakes clearly aren’t standard-issue i20. It looks to be sitting a tad lower, too, almost certainly on stiffer springs and dampers.
Engine-wise, Hyundai may opt for a detuned version of the i30 N’s 2.0-litre inline-four turbo engine, although its 1.6 is a more likely solution. It’s already good for 175bhp, so it wouldn’t require much work to get to Fiesta ST/Polo GTI levels of poke.
Locking differentials never used to be a given for smaller hot hatchbacks like this, but with these little scamps getting ever more serious, Hyundai may at least give the option of one here. Fortunately, the South Korean company made its own electronically-controlled, clutch-based differential for the i30 N, so that could well be deployed for the hot i20.
It probably won’t be the next Hyundai N product we see, though - we’re expecting that to be the Kona N, set for a launch later this year. The i20 N won’t launch until 2021, giving the Fiesta ST a little more time to reign as king of the small, front-wheel drive hot hatches.